In 1985, the Medford Cruise was a tiny gathering of people with sleek and shiny cars. By 1987, those people bought matching cruiser T-shirts. Now, in 2010, more than 500 shiny old cars and trucks will assemble to cruise, show and drag — the result of thousands of hours of volunteer planning and about $50,000 of sponsorships.
The 25th annual Medford Cruise culminates this weekend, June 18-20, with concerts, cars and competitions for everyone.
Friday, June 18
9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. — Poker run
1 - 5 p.m. — Shelby Cobra time trials at Champion Raceway
4:30 - 9 p.m. — Stop Light Drags at the raceway
7 - 9 p.m. — Jamie's Rock 'n' Roll Legends concert in Hawthorne Park
9:15 p.m. — Movie in Hawthorne Park ("Back to the Future")
Saturday, June 19
7:30 - 10 a.m. — Breakfast in Hawthorne Park
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. — Show 'n Shine car show in the park
10 a.m. - 1 p.m. — Poker walk
5:30 - 8:30 p.m. — Medford Cruise
9 p.m. — "An Evening with Elvis" at Kids Unlimited
9:15 p.m. — Movie in the park ("American Graffiti")
Sunday, June 20
7:30 - 10 a.m. — Breakfast in the park
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. — Unlimited Show 'n Shine
"It's got a little more grown up over the last 25 years, getting to where it is — just something really big and special," says David Hart, president of the Medford Cruise Association.
Over the past 10 years, the Medford Cruise Association has donated more than $200,000 — all the proceeds from the event — to the Boys & Girls Club. This money provides scholarships for thousands of kids to participate in the summer day-care program, "keeping kids out of trouble," Hart says.
Cruise organizers anticipated a heavy blow from the economy last year, but in the end were only down about 25 cars, Hart says.
"People still embrace this event and look forward to doing this no matter what's going on in the world," he says.
The 2010 Medford Cruise kicked off officially on Thursday with a party at Lava Lanes.
The weekend events begin Friday morning with a poker run starting at 9:30 a.m. at HomeTown Buffet, 1299 Center Drive, Medford. The run leaves HomeTown Buffet and takes a scenic tour to Gold Hill through some of the region's beautiful wine country and ends at 1:30 p.m. with lunch at Red Robin, where poker hands will be dealt for $5 a hand.
If poker's not your thing and Shelby Cobras are, make your way to the Champion Raceway in White City for a chance to see these classic sports cars in action. Car inspections are from noon to 1 p.m.; warmups are from 1 to 3 p.m. and time trials are from 3 to 4 p.m. The first 20 people to make a $20 donation to the Medford Cruise Association will get to take a two-lap spin in one of these sleek cars.
"Now that's a jet car ride," Hart says. "Somebody's going to have a thrill of their lifetime in that car."
At 4:30 p.m., cars 1972 and older will race one-on-one in the Stop Light Drags. Anyone with a car from that era can enter for $22. Mandatory inspections begin at 3 p.m. Admission is $10 and free for children 6 and younger.
"It's just like being out on the boulevard, but in a legal, controlled environment," says Hart.
At 7 p.m. Friday, Jamie's Rock 'n' Roll Legends will provide music to match the cars. The free '50s show will be held at Hawthorne Park and will feature singers impersonating John Denver, Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and Patsy Cline along with Justin Shandor's award-winning Elvis impersonation. Following the concert, there will be a free showing of the movie "Back to the Future." To recreate the old drive-in movie experience, viewers can tune their radios to a provided FM frequency to listen and watch the movie from their cars.
There will be a pancake feed at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in Hawthorne Park. Breakfast is $6 per person and benefits the Greater Medford Rotary. Following breakfast, take a stroll through hundreds of street cars, muscle cars, classics, customs and hot rods including Hart's own 1966 Mustang and 1970 VW Squareback. The Show 'n Shine runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Vehicle registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and costs $40, which includes the Friday and Saturday show.
Meet at 10 a.m. at Norris Shoes downtown for a poker walk, a fun guided tour through historic downtown Medford ending at Hawthorne Park, where players receive their poker hand.
The highlight of the weekend, the Medford Cruise, begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. All participating classics, customs, restorations, hot rods and muscle cars will parade through downtown Medford, and roads will be closed to regular traffic. A "Best of the Cruise" trophy will be awarded to the top cruiser, and then the action moves back to Hawthorne Park for another drive-in movie — "American Graffiti."
New this year, "An Evening with Elvis" will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday at Kids Unlimited, 821 N. Riverside Ave., Medford. Shandor, a top-five finalist in the 2009 National Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, will perform tunes from all eras of the King's long career. Tickets to the show are $15. "Ritchie Valens" also will perform a set with "Elvis."
Bring your dad out on Sunday to see the Unlimited Show 'n Shine opening at 11 a.m. in Hawthorne Park. This event is open to any year car, truck or motorcycle. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and costs $10.
For more information about weekend cruise events, visit www.MedfordCruise.org or call 541-690-5776.